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Edge Hill’s SME Productivity and Innovation Centre reaches Liverpool City Region milestone

Publish date: April 4, 2022

Edge Hill University’s SME Productivity & Innovation Centre (SME PIC) has reached its first major milestone after welcoming the 10th small-to-medium enterprise (SME) from the Liverpool City Region (LCR) to complete its scale-up programme.

Edge Hill University, working in partnership with The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, launched the Innovation Sprint programme across LCR in October 2021 to support 39 SMEs in the region to scale-up.

The popular programme is designed to help high growth potential businesses to critically evaluate their business model performance and achieve significant productivity improvements.

The PIC programme is part of a range of support that has been brought together by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and made available through Growth Platform – the Liverpool City Region Growth Company.

The programme has been welcomed by SMEs within LCR and the team of business experts from the SME PIC have been delighted with the uptake from the region.  

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Professor Simon Bolton, Director of the SME PIC said: “Our scale-up programme is successfully identifying growth potential SMEs in LCR  to support, and is already helping the first cohort to elevate their businesses to the next level.  Using data-driven innovation methods, we have worked with each business to assess their opportunities and address their challenges in developing a comprehensive scale-up strategy. We look forward to seeing the results of the bespoke strategies we’ve created and we will be on hand to provide further support to help them maximise their growth potential.”

The programme is already highly regarded across Lancashire and the benefits and impact of the programme and the feedback from participants over the last four years has been fantastic.

One of the first SMEs from the LCR to complete the programme is Southport based Isothermal Technology Ltd. Sales and Marketing Director, David Southworth said: “The programme provided us with the opportunity to analyse our business data to create an accurate picture of our current situation. This helped to develop a detailed strategy to move the business forward in the right direction. Since completing the Innovation Sprint we have reallocated resources to make use of new digital tools to identify new areas for our business. The time spent on the program allowed us identify how to use the data we already have in new ways, this helped us to make more strategic and evidence based plans.

“I can highly recommend the programme for any LCR based SME that is wanting to grow their business.”

The team of business experts from the PIC have successfully delivered the programme to over 160 SMEs so far since 2018. On average, those SMEs have experienced growth of 29 per cent, with more than 60 new products launched and over 230 new jobs created to date.

The intensive programme uses a unique data-driven innovation methodology to help growth potential SMEs improve their ability to generate demand and drive productivity, efficiency and profitability as part of a scale-up strategy.

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The LCR programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and has only 29 places remaining. The team of business experts from the SME PIC are currently seeking more SMEs with high growth potential to sign up to the programme. 

Delivered online and facilitated by business experts from the University, SMEs can expect to work 1-2-1 with business experts and academics to improve their product, service and/or business model innovation.

Janice Mears, Head of Business Growth at Growth Platform – Liverpool City Region Growth Company said: “   This is fantastic news, it is great to see this innovative programme already helping ten businesses across the Liverpool City Region to grow.  We know that high growth and ambitious businesses make-up a small  proportion of the whole business population both nationally and locally  –  that is why it is important for us to put initiatives in place to support SMEs in the City Region who are looking to develop and tackle their scale-up challenges.”

The programme is scheduled to run until March 2023.

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